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Allergy Glossary

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

allergen: substance that causes an allergic reaction

allergenic: describes a substance which produces an allergic reaction

antibody:molecule tailor-made by the immune system to lock onto and destroy specific germs

basophils:white blood cells that contribute to inflammatory reactions

conjunctivitis: inflammation of the lining of the eyelid, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids

genes: units of genetic material that carry the directions a cell uses to perform a specific function

granules: small particles; in cells the particles typically include enzymes and other chemicals

immune system: a complex network of specialized cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against attacks by disease-causing organisms

inflammation: an immune system process that stops the progression of disease-causing organisms

lymphocytes: small white blood cells which are important parts of the immune system

mast cells: granule-containing cells found in tissue

molecules: the building blocks of a cell. Some examples are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates

organism: an individual living thing perennial, describes something that occurs throughout the year

rhinitis: inflammation of the nasal passages, which can cause a runny nose

sinuses: hollow air spaces located within the bones of the skull surrounding the nose

sputum: matter ejected from the lungs and windpipe through the mouth

tissues: groups of similar cells joined to perform the same function

upper respiratory tract: area of the body which includes the nasal passages, mouth, and throat

(extracted from Airborne Allergens: Something in the Air)

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